It was tough to find an empty bar stool at Ross and Hall Tuesday as customers crammed in to support an employee who fell victim to abuse.
"We wanted to raise awareness to this disgusting plague of domestic violence that seems to be going on around us more and more," said owner Jason Caswell.
Caswell, who calls his staff of bartenders and servers a family, says he's still reeling from the news that one of his own endured unspeakable trauma.
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"At first, I was mortified. There were a few days where I broke down and I cried. It's stuff that should never happen to anybody, and the fact it happened to somebody so close to us…" said Caswell unable to find the words.
That's why he and his staff opened the doors Tuesday for an all-day fundraiser, pledging a percentage of the proceeds for their coworker's recovery. Even more importantly, Caswell wanted to start a conversation.
"People just need to be more open about it and talk about it and seek the help that should be so readily available to them. They should have places to go and the resources presented them to get them to a safer environment and away from the person who's doing it," said Caswell.
So Tuesday, between the DJ, drinks and food volunteers from Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center and Genesis Women's Shelter were on hand with information about where women can turn and how loved ones can help.
"I think it's important for people to know that whether their friends and family, neighbors, coworkers, have disclosed to them, it's very possible that they know someone who has experienced this," said Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center CEO Amy Jones.
Jones says in a world where one in three women will know some kind of violence in an intimate relationship along with one in four men, it's important to know how to help.
"I think it's important for us to be ready to respond when someone we know and love discloses to us that they're in an unsafe relationship. And the best thing that we can do is believe them, and let them know we're a safe person they can talk to," said Jones.
She said victims may show signs of isolation or difficulty making decisions they once easily did in the past. But many times, she says loved ones are shocked to learn about abuse like coworkers were at Ross and Hall. That's why she believes community awareness is the only way to shrink the statistics.
"That's the only way this type of violence against women is going to end is when the community comes together and says enough," said Jones.